State legislation session begins in Annapolis
- NBC News
- Associated Press
- The Independent
The latest updates from the White House and beyond on 17 January 2021
- NBC News
- The Telegraph
Beijing spying fears as it emerges airframes of new MoD spy planes were previously used by Chinese airlines
Ministers have been accused of risking national security by buying second hand Chinese 737 airliners to convert into new spy planes in a bid to save money. The five E-7 Wedgetail aircraft costing £1.5billion have been ordered from Boeing to deliver the UK’s Airborne Early Warning and Control capability, from 2023 from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland. Information gathered by E-7s would be used by the Armed Forces to keep watch on fighter jets or warships by enemy powers. However the Government has admitted that two of the five new RAF Wedgetail spy planes were previously operated by commercial airlines in China. Labour MP Kevan Jones, a member of Parliament’s security and intelligence committee which has oversight of the Security Services, said: “The Ministry of Defence is purchasing military equipment from a state opposed to UK interests, in order to save money. “There are serious concerns with regards to the security of the airframe, which may be defective or actively sabotaged prior to transfer. “This decision by the government represents a disturbing, and possibly historical, piece of misjudgement.” Tom Tugendhat MP, the Conservative chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs select committee, added: “No one’s travelling and planes are cheap, so why are we buying spy planes from a country that’s spying on us? "Who knows what’s in the millions of nooks and crannies of a massive 737? We could just buy a plane from a trusted partner instead.” Ministry of Defence sources insisted that "the aircraft were sourced via a broker from the commercial market and at no time was the end destination of the aircraft released to the vendors or known to the market through that process". Defence minister Jeremy Quin defended the decision, insisting that the two second hand airframes will be stripped down and thoroughly checked for bugs that could have been put there by the Chinese. Mr Quin said: "The safety and security of our personnel are our highest priorities meaning that it must be demonstrated that second-hand airframes, regardless of origin, meet our requirements. "This might involve the airframes being stripped down, refitted and subjected to stringent security checks as required." He added: “In common with all 737 Next Generation airliners, the first two airframes to be modified to become RAF Wedgetail AEW Mk1 aircraft were manufactured by Boeing in the United States. “They were initially operated by commercial airlines based in China and Hong Kong, and were then acquired by Boeing from the commercial market via a broker. “The use of second-hand airframes provides a significant schedule and cost benefit to the programme, which will enable this vital capability to be introduced sooner than would have been the case if new airframes had been manufactured." A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "Converting previously civilian-owned airframes for military use is commonplace and has no impact on the quality or capability of the aircraft.” “The Boeing 737s will undergo comprehensive security checks before mission system equipment is installed. “The sensible, cost-effective approach will enable this vital capability to be introduced sooner than would otherwise be possible.” MoD sources said that the "use of previously-owned airframes is not unusual for military aircraft derived from civil aircraft, in this case the Boeing 737. It provides a cost and time-effective path to production". They added: "The modification process that transforms a 737 into an E-7 Wedgetail is extensive, with the aircraft stripped back to the basic airframe. "All the sensitive mission system equipment is installed new and does not originate from the ‘donor’ 737."
- The Independent
Biden’s plan to get 100m Americans vaccinated in first 100 days is ‘doable,’ Dr Fauci says
- Miami Herald
- The Telegraph
- The Week
President-elect Joe Biden is planning to spend his first 10 days in the Oval Office issuing dozens of executive orders, a memo circulated by incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain on Saturday and obtained by The New York Times revealed. The memo appears to back up earlier reporting about how Biden envisioned the early stages of his presidency.On his first day alone, Biden will reportedly rescind President Trump's travel ban on several majority Muslim countries, rejoin the Paris climate change accord, extend pandemic-related limits on evictions and student loan payments, issue a mask mandate for federal property and interstate travel, and reunite children who were separated from their families while crossing the United States-Mexico border. He will also reportedly send Congress immigration legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for 11 million people.Per the Times, the swift, expansive action is "meant to signal a turning point for a nation reeling from disease, economic turmoil, racial strife, and now the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol" and, advisers hope, "establish a sense of momentum" for Biden while the Senate likely begins President Trump's impeachment trial. Read more at The New York Times.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment New Yorker reporter's footage provides 'clearest view yet' of Capitol rioters inside Senate chamber Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious
- The Independent
Man arrested at inauguration checkpoint with gun and ammo says he was lost and did not mean to bring weapon to DC
The man said he got lost driving around Washington DC
- The Telegraph
Almost a third of recovered Covid patients will end up back in hospital within five months and one in eight will die, alarming new figures have shown. Research by Leicester University and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found there is a devastating long-term toll on survivors of severe coronavirus, with many people developing heart problems, diabetes and chronic liver and kidney conditions. Out of 47,780 people who were discharged from hospital in the first wave, 29.4 per cent were readmitted to hospital within 140 days, and 12.3 per cent of the total died. The current cut-off point for recording Covid deaths is 28 days after a positive test, so it may mean thousands more people should be included in the coronavirus death statistics. Researchers have called for urgent monitoring of people who have been discharged from hospital.
- Yahoo News Video
The spokesman for Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert has quit less than two weeks after she was sworn into office, saying he felt like he need to due to the insurrection at the nation's Capitol.
- The Week
President Trump is known for going off script, but his premature presidential election victory declaration in the early hours of the morning on Nov. 4 wasn't a completely spur-of-the-moment decision, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports.In the first installment of a reported series on Trump's final two months in office, Swan writes that Trump began "choreographing election night in earnest" during the second week of October following a "toxic" debate with President-elect Joe Biden on Sept. 29 and a bout with COVID-19 that led to his hospitalization. At that point, Trump's internal poll numbers had reportedly taken a tumble, Swan notes.With that in mind, he reportedly called his first White House chief of staff, a stunned Reince Priebus, and "acted out his script, including walking up to a podium and prematurely declaring victory on election night if it looked like he was ahead." Indeed, in the lead up to Election Day, Trump reportedly kept his focus on the so-called "red mirage," the early vote counts that would show many swing states leaning red because mail-in ballots had yet to be counted. Trump, Swan reports, intended to "weaponize it for his vast base of followers," who would go to bed thinking he had secured a second-term, likely planting the seeds of a stolen election. Read more at Axios. > As I've been writing, the plan was to steal the election all along. Fantastic reporting here. https://t.co/k8C73o8vH7> > -- Jonah Goldberg (@JonahDispatch) January 16, 2021More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment New Yorker reporter's footage provides 'clearest view yet' of Capitol rioters inside Senate chamber Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious